Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Why Are They Leaving? Thoughts From One Who Has, Plus: Handicapping The House; GOP Takeover Could Be Thwarted In ABQ; Cruces Is Dem Challenge; Uncertainty Still Abounds 

How in the name of Heaven can a town that is 58% Republican not have a Republican mayor? Well, it can happen as we found Tuesday when we erred in blogging that Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts is an R. Actually, he is a former Democrat and now an independent. We had bum info that he was an R and it shaded our analysis of Roberts' disagreement with the GOP Governor who he disagrees with on tax policy. Turns out the political implications of Roberts' split with Susana were not as meaningful as we first thought, but still an important bellwether of what's to come. Roberts probably didn't mind being thrown in with what is the majority party in Farmington. Not that he needs much help. He was re-elected this year with a stunning 84% of the vote. . .

Why are they leaving? We mean the many educated professionals embarking for greener pastures outside of New Mexico? NM native Michael Montoya is an international businessman, the VP  for a California-based cybersecurity firm in Asia. He's one of those who left. Let's give him the floor:

We can debate a number of observations across the tax code, education, security, economic disparity that are hindering New Mexico. Truth is, it is all about leadership, and New Mexico lacks leadership, which is why the state is at the bottom of this economic recovery. . . I was concerned that New Mexico did not have enough [of a] private sector to provide me the opportunities to develop my skills and support my personal growth. My goals were to enrich my skills across global economies, and there didn’t seem to be any growth [opportunities] for me in the state.

It seems the prevailing wisdom [in New Mexico] is to manage a budget. Smart budgeting is definitely a good operating principle, but not a vision. . . The growth in Denver, Dallas and Phoenix isn’t matched in Albuquerque. {Those cities} seem to be emerging with industry, talent and resources to support entrepreneurship. Their airports are filled with many flights and they are all importing talent. In New Mexico, I struggle to get a simple flight from San Francisco. How can a location attract talent and industry when access is a challenge?  With a lack of opportunity for our young, talented people to achieve personal greatness and growth, the only opportunity will be for them to look elsewhere.

Political operative and PR pro Chris Cervini caused a bit of a stir when he authored a pointed missive on why he was leaving the state. He checks in with reaction to Dem Senator Martin Heinrich's decision to support a constitutional amendment that would allow the stat to use a portion of the $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund on very early childhood education:

Enough can't be said about Heinrich's early childhood speech. It's a big deal. And to do it in front of a business group (the ABQ Chamber of Commerce) is impressive. All across the country--Republicans and Democrats and business are making investments in early education. Yet in New Mexico, we've hemmed and hawed for a decade, nibbling at the edges. We need to fundamentally rethink how we do everything and it seems like Heinrich gets it.

Another reader joins in with this on Gov. Martinez touting job creation on the border:

There she goes again. Susana credits her shrinking state government for the good economic news down  at Santa Teresa. Guess what? The Union Pacific Railroad made a business decision at least 10 years ago to deal with major congestion problems in El Paso by consolidating operations in the New Mexico desert. Credit that decision for the current boom at the Santa Teresa industrial parks. And the tax break that made it happen? It was the Legislature and Gov. Bill Richardson who in 2007 first approved the crucial fuel-tax deduction the railroad wanted. The recession stalled the project, and a sunset clause repealed the deduction, so the Legislature passed it a second time when UP was ready to go. That's when Martinez signed on and began taking credit for a coincidence of big business and geography well beyond her control. . . 

Well, she wouldn't be a politician if she didn't try to take credit. We should add that former Dem US Senator Jeff Bingaman also had a major role in the Santa Teresa project.


Let's get back on some critical state House races as the R's try for an historic takeover of the 70 member chamber in the Nov. election.

Alligators, insiders, wall-leaners and wannabes inform that the Dems chances of keeping the seats of Dem State Reps Emily Kane and Liz Thomson in their corner are looking up. However, down in Las Cruces they fret over the possibility of losing two seats--one held by Dem Nate Cote who is retiring and Rep. Phil Archuleta who is being challenged by Republican and former Rep. Andy Nunez. Republican Rick Little is favored to win the Cote seat which he held before Cote ousted him in '12.

The House currently has 37 Dems and 33 R's. State Rep. Vickie Perea is quite likely to lose the seat she was appointed to so call it 38 to 32 as we join the battle. That means the R's will have to pick up 4 seats for outright control, a long-odds proposition say the chattering classes at the Roundhouse. They say a good GOP night would be a pick up of two seats, making the House 36 Dems and 34 R's. Then the fun would begin. Could the GOP pick off a couple of Dems to form a coalition that would control the House? What promises would they make to get those votes? Could Dem Speaker Martinez use his gavel power to keep his D's in line? There are so many angles on this one you could keep the Bull Ring open all night and still not finish. . .

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